Ag Safety Awareness Week is March 3-9Feb 21st, 2013 | By admin | Category: News and Features
LITTLE ROCK — Across the country, Farm Bureaus are making safety a top priority this spring through the Agricultural Safety Awareness Program (ASAP). As a part of ASAP, March 3-9 has been designated as Agricultural Safety Awareness Week.
This year’s theme, “Agricultural Safety: Your Best Investment,” emphasizes making farms and ranches safer for farmers, their family members and employees. All-terrain vehicles are used on most farms and ranches in Arkansas, but despite the availability of good safety equipment and training programs, injuries and fatalities involving ATV operators happen much too frequently.
According to the latest figures from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
• Approximately 115,000 ATV-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2010. An estimated 28,300 of these were children younger than 16 years of age.
• 317 ATV-related fatalities were reported in the U.S. in 2010. About 25 percent of those who died were children under the age of 16. Sixty-seven Arkansans died as the result of ATV accidents from 2007-2010.
“It doesn’t take very big investments of time or money to make a big difference in the level of safety on most farms,” said Jason Kaufman, safety coordinator for Arkansas Farm Bureau. “ATV safety is a big part of farm safety because so many farms use these vehicles for work and recreation.”
Many simple, inexpensive tips can increase any ATV rider’s safety. For example, users can “get dressed to ride,” using helmets, safety glasses, long sleeves, gloves, long pants and boots with heels to reduce the risk of injury. ATV drivers shouldn’t carry passengers, either, and should only ride ATVs of a size that fits the operator. One must be age 16 to ride an adult ATV (over 90 ccs) in Arkansas. It’s important to operate at safe speeds as well, especially when turning or near hazards. Most injuries are caused from overturned ATVs.
It’s especially important for ATV users to take an approved rider’s training course. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service provides these through the ATV Safety Institute’s 4-H ATV RiderCourse. The agency has trained 24 county agents and state faculty as licensed instructors. For more information, visit www.uaex.edu and select the ATV Safety link, phone 501-671-2059, or contact your local Cooperative Extension Office.
Arkansas Farm Bureau has two full-time safety coordinators on staff who offer 12 different safety programs, including ATV safety, free of charge.
“The safety coordinators at Arkansas Farm Bureau are dedicated to educating Arkansans about safety concerns,” said safety coordinator Amanda Williams. “We not only offer ATV safety programs, but programs on farm and tractor safety, distracted driving prevention, drinking and driving prevention, and more.”
For more information, visit the “Education and Youth” section of Arkansas Farm Bureau’s website, www.arfb.com.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 200,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.